Just tested: quick-to-chill fridge and fridge freezer Best BuysThe latest Which? Best Buys chill food rapidly

30 July 2011

Our latest Which? refrigeration test results reveal that some models are able to chill fresh groceries four times faster than others.

The speed at which a fridge can cool food to a safe temperature is important because the quicker food reaches the recommended safe storage temperature of below 5°C, the less likely it is to deteriorate. 

Fresh food can start to warm up on the journey back from the supermarket - particularly on a hot summer’s day - so you’ll want a fridge that’s powerful enough to cool it down quickly when you get home. 

The best model on test chilled our shopping perfectly in little over four hours, whereas the worst took almost 17 hours to cool the same amount of food. Head to our fridges reviews to find out which models chill the fastest and to watch our insider guide video on how to buy the best fridge.

Freezing capacity

We found a similar variation in results for freezing power too. Two of the fridge freezers we looked at managed to freeze an impressive 14kg of fresh food in 24 hours, which should give you ample opportunity to store those surplus home-grown runner beans or apples. 

The worst performers were significantly slower, and only managed to freeze 1.5kg in the same period. 

Rapid freezing prevents the formation of large ice crystals, which can have a detrimental effect on the taste and texture of your food, so the quicker your food reaches -18°C, the better.

The latest models on test

Our latest batch of freestanding fridge freezers includes models from well-known brands like Indesit, Samsung and Zanussi. We’ve also reviewed the Haier AFL631CS, which has two freezer drawers instead of a conventional freezer compartment.

Six of these are frost-free, which is great news if you don’t want the hassle of regularly defrosting your appliance, and the American-style Samsung RSH5UBBP benefits from a built-in ice and water dispenser.

Here's the full list of the new models we've just tested:

  • Haier AFL631CS
  • Haier AFL631CW
  • Indesit BAAN 134
  • Indesit BAN 134 NF
  • Indesit CA55NF
  • Indesit TAN6FNFS
  • Samsung RSH5UBBP
  • Zanussi ZRB224NWO

Compare results for each of these models and more in our fridge freezer reviews.

Energy efficiency

Refrigeration products are the second biggest energy guzzlers in the home behind central heating - and with electricity prices on the rise, choosing an energy-efficient model could save you more money than ever before.

In the past we've found that the offical energy labels on products aren’t always accurate, so we run our own tests and list the running costs for every model we review.

We’ve looked at a few of the best energy-efficient fridge freezers here, but you could save even more money by investing in other greener appliances for your home. Take a look at our pick of the best eco-friendly washing machines and energy-saving dishwashers.

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